Unlawful act/constructive manslaughter

unlawful act manslaughter is also referred to as constructive manslaughter. The death must be caused by an unlawful act.

Unlawful act manslaughter is also referred to as constructive manslaughter .

This is a form of involuntary manslaughter.

  • The death must be caused by an unlawful act, it is not enough to be a civil wrong (Franklin (1883))
  • The unlawful act must be dangerous on an objective test (Church (1966))
  • There must be an act - an omission can not create liability (Lowe (1973))
  • Difficult decisions have been made surrounding the deaths of a human being from the injection of a drug.  Currently the law appears to be that:
  1. If the defendant has supplied the drug but does nothing towards administering the drug, he has not caused the death (Dalby (1982))
  2. If the defendant helps in any way in administering the drug and this act is the cause of death, he is guilty of manslaughter (Rogers (2003))
  3. If the defendant prepares the injection but the victim has the syringe and injects himself with the lethal dose, the defendant is guilty of unlawful act manslaughter as he has committed the unlawful act of administering a noxious substance under Sec 23 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861: Kennedy v R (2005).
  • The act can be aimed at property (Goodfellow (1986))
  • The risk of harm must be a physical harm it is not enough for there to be fear or concern even if this leads the victim to have a heart attack (Dawson (1985)). Should a defendant know of the victim's weakness and the risk he could be in, then the defendant is liable (Watson (1989))
  • There must be proof that the defendant had the mens rea for the unlawful act, not necessarily that he realised that the act was unlawful (Newbury and Jones (1977)), Attorney General's Reference No.2 CA of 1999.(2000).


Homicide; Murder and Manslaughter - Crown Prosecution Service

CPS statement on the death of Ian Tomlinson | UK news | guardian ...

BBC News - Timeline: Ian Tomlinson's death

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